I stumbled upon “The Great British Bake Off” around December of last year and shamelessly binged watched it. Coincidentally my brother was binging it too. And we took great joy in texting back and forth getting the other to divulge opinions about the different bakes and bakers. Binging the series prompted me to put a ridiculous amount of cooking and baking tools on my Christmas wish list, because dammit I was going to be a baker.
I was going to be the one who made people Christmas goodie bullshit baskets except they were going to be filled with things that were actually good. It didn’t matter that my baking track record was not the best. Cooking is my thing. Baking is a different beast. Apparently, it’s not something you can do all willy-nilly intuitively like you can with cooking. There’s some serious science behind cakes. But I thought with Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood I could do it. And then I finished all 4 of the series (or collections) on Netflix and my fervor died down and I was left with a zester and Kitchen Aid hand mixer unused.
I was sad that there were no more episodes to escape in and other cooking and baking shows/competitions just made me anxious. So I let it go….for the moment. I didn’t understand why I fell so hard for “GBBO.” But it became clear to me a few weeks ago when I saw there were new episodes on Netflix. I nearly didn’t watch them because I didn’t want to get myself into a baking tizzy again, and also there was the fact that the series would come to an end and I’d be left in a “GBBO” daze.
But I did it and it was blissful and re-ignited my desire to be a Master Baker (and also inspired me to buy and hoard baking books. True story: I’m addicted to books). My significant other’s birthday was coming up and I was going to make a cake completely from scratch. “GBBO” got me through it and while it wasn’t the most aesthetically pleasing cake and was a layer more than it was meant to be, it tasted like cake and some fancy blackberry jam and not 3 rubber tires and burnt sugar. SO maybe this year I will be that one with the Christmas baskets, but it’ll probably be more like “Here’s a Christmas Brown Bag!” Cause baskets and things to make them look “nice” are expensive and my decorating skills ain’t shit. Oh well.
So what was the point of this post? Besides loving on some “Great Britsh Bake Off?” Mostly just that. GBBO is like an Anti-Anxiety medication.
It’s a mixture of hushed tones, lush nature, pastels, and the honest but unitimidating qualities of the judges. Even the contestants, in all their self-deprecating glory, seem like a family. You don’t feel the tension and see the cutthroat competitor in them like you see on most televised competitions you see in the States. As a viewer you can easily relate to them as they fumble around their work stations, constantly fretting or making mistakes. They lift one another up, and when one has to go home or wins Star Baker you’re just as emotional as them.
It’s just all very “feel good.” And to get over the ending of a series, I simply just put the show on again, and let it run as background noise when I’m home alone and need to feel some good vibes. Sounds oddball but whatever, it works. So if you haven’t had the opportuinity to experience “GBBO” I suggest you give it a go.
And as a side note: If you do get bit by the baking bug I have a few recomendations for books (books I shamelessly bought).
Ruby Tandoh was one of my favorite contestants and although I usually don’t buy “fan” books, I did and these do not disappoint. Ruby’s writing is laid back and interesting and she keeps the person on a budget in mind. Meaning I don’t have to skip a recipe because I don’t have $20 to spend on an uncommon ingredient or need some fancy equipment. The recipes are fun and simple (mostly). I’ll probably post on things I try to make out of these books.
The books by Paul and Mary however, are somewhat coffee table-ish but are totally usuable. The recipes are more involved and it can be quite overwhelming to just jump in. But they do give (particularly Paul’s books) very detailed instructions with good pictures for guidance.